Sunday, August 21, 2011

Viz: Normalized Domestic Debt Rating

This visualization can be viewed here: Debt Ratings
This is a visualization of Standard &Poor's debt ratings before the debt rating of the United States was cut to AA+ on Aug 5, 2011. This visualization uses Standard & Poor’s as the data source and a World Map to represent the debt ratings for countries.

Below is a snapshot of the visualization.

This accommodates 6 different types of ratings which can be changed through the combo box.

Different color schemes are used to represent the ratings. Similar kind of coloring scheme is used for ‘Normalized ratings’ and a different coloring scheme is used for all other kinds of ratings. All the countries which do not appear in any of the ratings are lightly shaded.

One of the highlights of this visualization is that it allows comparison of two or all types of ratings in one go. For this, the user can select the ‘#of maps’ option embedded in the visualization toolbar.

Another useful feature is that the color scheme can be replaced by bubbles through the circular push buttons labeled ‘Colors or Bubbles?’. The relative area of the bubble will help to determine the debt extent for the country it represents. Additionally, tooltips are used to indicate country name and its rating value. It also provides zooming in and out and scrollbars to navigate across the map.

The user can select a country on the map for specific details and then deselect it to view the global ratings. Selecting a particular range or rating on the color legend will highlight all the respective countries.

We have seen this kind of visualization where a global map is used. What stands out in this visualization is the little widgets available for changing coloring schemes, zooming which add on to the interactivity.


1. Identify mouse events on the global map.

2. Help to visualize special regions like Europe in a better way than zooming.